Steve Campion of ABC13 reports that the Astros kicked out a fan protesting reliever Roberto Osuna with a sign displaying the phone number of the Houston Area Women’s Center domestic violence hotline. The sign simply read, “Houston Domestic Violence Hot Line 713.528.2121.”
The fan, Kevin Jukkola, said he has held the sign up at several other games, but security asked him to turn it over during Saturday’s game against the Angels and he was then kicked out of Minute Maid Park. Jukkola said, “Some people were not happy about it. Some people were supportive. But either way, there was never an usher called. No security was ever called. Nothing ever happened until Saturday night. I want them to allow me to peacefully protest and not to be removed from the ballpark.”
Osuna was arrested on May 8 by Toronto police and charged with assaulting a woman. He accepted a 75-game suspension from Major League Baseball on June 22. Osuna is scheduled to appear in court in Toronto on Wednesday.
Various members of the Astros, including GM Jeff Luhnow, have clumsily attempted to justify the club’s acquisition of Osuna from the Blue Jays on July 30. Osuna himself didn’t speak on the matter until recently, proclaiming his innocence. He said, “No one knows what happened but obviously me. … I’m just waiting for everything to come out so people can really wait to see what happened.”
While the Astros have the right to remove a fan for whatever reason they see fit, it’s not a good look as it makes the organization look defensive and like they’re attempting to silence peaceful protest. Ryan Meier, an Astros fan who witnessed Jukkola’s removal said, “Domestic violence is a serious issue. I think the sign should be irrelevant in the ballpark because the Astros should already have one instead of us needing to bring one.”